Tony Abbott and un-Social Media

Is Tony Abbott a hypocrite, or does he just have thought bubbles on any issue that makes the news?

In response to the publicity and subsequent condemnation of the Aboriginal Memes Facebook page, here is Mr Abbott’s thought bubble, for which I commend him:

Tony Abbott says regulators may need more powers to order social media sites to take down offensive material.

The suggestion follows the belated removal from Facebook of a racist page that denigrated Aborigines as alcoholics and welfare cheats.

Mr Abbott said he wanted to avoid damage to individuals as a result of cyber bullying.

He said Facebook and other social media organisations should act responsibly to prevent cyber bullying, but greater regulation could be required.

“I do think there is an issue with cyber bullying, and I think that we really ought to look at whether the regulators need more power to make takedown orders and so on,’ Mr Abbot said.

Any commendation I had for his statement evaporated when the thought bubble was displaced with blatant hypocrisy. He went on:

The Opposition Leader denied the position was inconsistent with his plan to axe Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which makes it an offence to offend or humiliate a person on the grounds of race or ethnicity.

“We’ve set up a Coalition task group to look at this whole issue of cyber bullying.

“There is no case, though, for political censorship, and that’s the problem with Section 18C of the Act.”

The link above also reminds us that ‘News Limited columnist Andrew Bolt was found guilty under Section 18C last year, after he accused some “fair-skinned Aboriginals” of choosing to identify as Indigenous for personal gain’. And let’s remind ourselves that Abbott was quick to leap to Bolt’s defense.

Yep, the hypocrisy is oozing all over the article.

By courtesy of Min, Section C18 of the Act, that being which Tony Abbott so vehemently opposes concerns offensive behaviour because of race, colour or national or ethnic origin. That’s correct it’s offensive behaviour, with the specifics being:

For an act to be unlawful it must fulfill the following criteria:

  • that the action causes words, sounds, images or writing to be communicated to the public; or that it is done in a public place.
  • that the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people.
  • that the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group.

So that’s OK by Tony Abbott.  OK, that is, if the mainstream media kick heads but let’s do something about independent journalists or people who engage with social media. You know the types, they’re the ones often critical of the current Opposition (and him) and the biased mainstream media.

Mr Abbott is right, of course, in one respect. Some social media sites have become a cesspool of hate. But has he bothered to look at the hatred or suggestions of violence that are published by commenters on the blog sites of Andrew Bolt’s or Piers Ackerman’s? Does he worry when a commenter pleads for a call to arms to rid ourselves of the Government?

And why doesn’t he have caring thought bubbles when he stands side-by-side with those same types as they hold signs calling Julia Gillard a bitch or a slut.  He rubs shoulders with hate mongerers after they’ve said on air that Julia Gillard should be dumped at sea.  He supports members of his party who suggest Julia Gillard should be kicked to death.  He also fails to reprimand those in his party who say Julia Gillard needs a bullet.

I guess it’s all free speech, which the other day he vociferously endorsed. A comment on The Political Sword by Wake Up amused me:

Don’t you just love the hypocrisy of Abbott . . . this morning in the face of the ‘Aboriginal Meme’ affair he invoked a Coalition ‘ task force’ to look at social media including ‘stronger take-down powers for the regulator’ yet only three days ago he was heroically swinging to defend ‘free speech’.

I’m worried about what Abbott might do the free speech on social media sites. It will be muted, there is nothing surer. It will be muted because they are the forums that breed – in his eyes – dissent.  They are not the forums that provide him with unqualified support, such as seen in the mainstream media. And according to Mr Abbott the laws will be changed to give the media – those pedlars of hate – the right to abuse and denigrate at will (as if it isn’t disgusting enough already).

Meanwhile, everyone else will be made to shut up.

We should all be worried.


When I was 12  I calculated that I would be 49 by the year 2000. It seemed so far away!

It’s now 2012, and if your are as astute with sums as I was at 12, you’ll know I am now over 60.

With this in mind, and encouraged by others, this week I applied for a NSW Government Seniors Card.

Now to get this little slice of welfare you have to be over 60 (I don’t look it!) and work less than 20 hours a week (that’s enough for me).

There are no questions about how much money you have in the bank, shares etc (I have none).

With the card (if it is approved) I can travel practically anywhere on public transport for $2.50. And probably get a discount from any number of stores such as KFC. Can’t wait.

I haven’t checked out all the magnificent thing I’ll be able to do with this card, or how much money I will be able to save. I suppose I will find out when the card arrives.

But this benefit must cost the NSW Government heaps There appears to be no means testing, with the only requirement being you’re over 60 and don’t work too much.

Anyway, I look forward to a $2.50 return trip to the pub at Brooklyn (normal price $6.80) for beers and lunch (and should I admit it, $50 in the pokies) with an old mate. And although the saving won’t go close to paying for another schooner I’ll probably feel richer.

Do you think these sort of schemes should have greater entrance requirements?

When I was 12 �…